This afternoon (7/10/11) I observed two Merlins at Oakledge Park in
Burlington. One of the Merlins was doing noisy flight displays around
a pine tree, giving its high-pitched "klee-klee-klee-klee..." call.
It then landed on a bare branch in the pine where a second Merlin was
perched. The first Merlin appeared to transfer food to the second
one. This happened three times over the course of 30 min or so. I
presume the second Merlin was a fledgling and that successful breeding
occurred nearby. Alternatively the second one was a female receiving
ritualistic food offerings from a male. Either way, Merlin nesting
activity in the area appears certain.
Location: Go to the south parking area in Oakledge Park. There is
big picnic pavilion on the hill. The pine tree with the exposed
branch is just a few yards NW of the picnic pavilion, across the bike
path. At least one Merlin was swooping back and forth across the
grassy area between the pavilion and the bike path. Another vantage
point is to continue a few more yards down the bike path to the
swimming cove and look back up the hill at the pine. There is an $8
entry fee ($6 for Burlington residents) to drive into the park.
Alternatively you can park outside the park and walk in maybe 0.1
mile. Or aproach on foot or bike along the Burlington bike path.
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